Wildlife Bushfire Safety Tips
How you can help:
- Take domestic animals with you if you evacuate, or keep cats indoors and dogs under control wherever possible so that wildlife can flee safely through your property.
- Leave out shallow bowls of water for animals and birds escaping fires, and add a few sticks or stones on one side to allow smaller animals to escape if they fall in.
- Keep a cardboard box, gloves, personal protective equipment and a towel in the boot of your car in case you find an injured animal that you can safely contain without putting yourself in any danger.
- If you rescue an animal that has sustained burn injuries, do not attempt to feed it. Please wrap it loosely, ideally in 100% cotton fabric, place it in a ventilated box with a lid and keep it in a dark and quiet place whilst waiting for a rescuer or for transport to the nearest vet. Water should not be poured from a water bottle above the animal.
- Keep all animals away from children and pets. Handling wild animals should only occur in the course of containing the animal to reduce additional stress.
- Take injured animals to your nearest vet if you can safely, as injured animals will require urgent vet assessment. Call WIRES to let us know which vet you’ve taken the animal to, so we can follow up with the vet to bring the animals into care when they are ready.
- Do not approach injured snakes, flying-foxes, large kangaroos, raptors or monitors, as these must be rescued by trained specialists, for these species, please call WIRES first for rescue assistance on 1300 094 737.
- No one should enter active or seemingly dormant fire grounds to rescue wildlife: leave this to trained, licensed wildlife carers who are authorised to work with first responder agencies. It is critical that no one hinders firefighters or emergency services during this time.
If you own a swimming pool and live near where fires are burning, there are some simple things you can do to assist wildlife that may be seeking water:
- Cover the pool edge to provide animals with a gripping surface.
- Use heavy-duty rope or a bodyboard anchored outside the pool for exhausted animals to rest on.
- Place bricks or large stones next to pool steps to help animals climb out easily.
- Regularly check the pool, including the skimmer box, at least twice a day.
To access 24/7 rescue advice and assistance for sick, injured and orphaned native animals call 1300 094 737, or fill in the online rescue form.
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